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Volume 14, Number 4—April 2008

Another Dimension

The CAT Scan

Ronald O. Valdiserri
I enter your portal through a scrim of invisible rays,
beads of energy outnumbering my regrets.
Supine on a cold bed, part supplicant, part sacrifice.
Like all captives, fearing judgment.
Woosh, then comes the warm tingle of the dye,
everywhere at once.
It feels like a cleansing…
washing away debris, debt, equivocation.
“no,” silently, I correct myself,
acknowledging the iodine’s more melancholy assignment:
building a luminous marquee around 56 years of imperfection and wear.
And the lights blink yellow.


Dr Valdiserri is chief public health consultant in the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards at the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining the VA in 2006, Dr. Valdiserri served as the deputy director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has published extensively on HIV/AIDS prevention issues, including a series of personal essays on AIDS (“Gardening in Clay,” Cornell University Press, 1994).

DOI: 10.3201/eid1404.071651

Table of Contents – Volume 14, Number 4—April 2008